Is it possible for London to report no new cases of HIV by 2030?
This is the ambitious goal set by Fast Track Cities, an international organisation that hosts its first global conference in London this week.
London is already the best city in the world for HIV detection and treatment with 95% of people with HIV diagnosed, 98% on treatment and 97% with the virus undetectable.
The conference will showcase all the great work of the HIV community over the past 30 years.
London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust is now offering more clinics in more places with longer opening hours for sexually transmitted infections including HIV.
It also provides access to online testing, an outreach team and is promoting the use of PrEP (HIV Pre-exposure Prophylaxis).
PrEP is a medicine for people without HIV and is taken before sex to reduce the risk of acquiring HIV.
Consultant Gary Brook has been treating patients with HIV since the 1980s when the virus first arrived in the UK.
“We’ve made extraordinary progress in the past 35 years from a time when people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS would almost inevitably die to nowadays where you can live as long as anyone else as long as you take the appropriate medication.
“Drugs are also available that prevent people from passing HIV on during sex and I’ve no doubt that a cure will be found in the future.
“When that will be I don’t know but we are getting closer. London has the largest HIV community in the country so zero new cases by 2030 is an ambitious target but it is all about raising awareness. People can’t afford to be complacent or think it won’t happen to them.”